Summary of Our Ten Principles
Beyond the Neutrality Mirage
We’re said to live in a more knowing and cynical age, and yet our major news media outlets go right on striking a pose of unfiltered neutrality. The reality is that no news venue considers everything, fits everything, only reports and nothing more. Each of them brings a set of governing assumptions to a thousand daily questions: Whose ideas do we engage tomorrow? Which stories do we spotlight today? How do we frame the next big story?
This doesn’t mean the news business should get a free pass for rampant bias and distortion. The better course is to strive for fairness to the facts and to competing perspectives, and to be up front about your guiding principles. Humans are made to be free, rational, responsible creatures. To mislead them with a pose of unfiltered neutrality is beneath their dignity. So, what follows is a summary of what guides us at The Stream: principles, not partisanship.
The Principles of The Stream
Our most basic conviction is the Imago Dei, the idea that every human is made in the image of God with inherent dignity and value. The idea is visible in the Declaration of Independence where the American Founders insist “that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
Our commitment to this idea means that when we cover some political wrangling over a basic human right, or our responsibility to the poor, we do so guided by the understanding that governments do not grant us our unalienable rights. They merely recognize or ignore them.
Closely tied to the idea of the Imago Dei is the conviction that we can know God and discern moral truth, that we are not mere mouths, but are meant to be free, responsible discerners of truth and creators of value.
Also, we are and do all of these things as inherently social creatures. The tradition of rugged individualism is a noble one. Its caricature, radical individualism, is misguided, impoverished and dangerous. We need each other.
Another foundational assumption: We are, all of us, sinners, a condition that cannot be engineered away by political experiments or the march of progress. Part and parcel of this: Government’s core role is to constrain human evil, and yet it must itself be constrained by checks and balances, since every government is run by sinful human beings prone to corruption.
There is another reason to limit the size and reach of government. Government is a crucial social institution, but not the primary one. Marriage and the family are the basic social institutions, and where a government undermines these by overstepping its bounds, rich and poor, young and old, pay a toll.
Finally, all of these truths come before politics, and are the foundation of a cultural heritage more basic than any political system, party or platform.
That heritage, moreover, gave rise to widespread human freedom. It’s true the cause of freedom progressed slowly and imperfectly. It’s true that it regressed in the age of colonialism, most infamously in the horrible abuses of Africans and the native peoples of the Americas. But amidst all the cruelty, corruption and hypocrisy stretching from the Middle Ages to the present, it’s easy to miss a singular fact. Widespread political, economic and religious freedom was born in the Christian West rather than elsewhere.
The Stream is dedicated to the proposition that freedom sprang from this cultural soil for a reason, and is unsustainable apart from that soil.
The Ten Principles
- Every human being has equal value and dignity
- We are inherently and specifically social.
- Marriage and the family are the fundamental social institutions.
- We can know God and moral truth.
- Judeo-Christian religious faith guards our freedom.
- We’re all sinners.
- We need a state strong enough to protect and maintain the rule of law but limited enough not to violate it.
- We are meant to be free and responsible.
- When we’re free, we can create wealth and value.
- Culture comes before politics.